Muscle-on-a-chip platform to evaluate Myotonic Dystrophy therapeutic strategies

Group: Biosensors for bioengineering
Group leader: Javier Ramón (

Biosensors for Bioengineering’ (B4b) group, headed by Prof. Javier Ramon is focused on a new line of research that has become of extreme importance in the last years. The idea is to integrate biosensor technology and nanotechnology with stem cell research and with tissue engineering to obtain new platforms to study human diseases. Engineered tissues are integrated with biosensing technology to obtain microdevices for detecting cellular responses to external stimuli, monitoring the quality of the microenvironment (e.g., metabolites, nutrients), and supporting diverse cellular requirements. This research on 3D-functional engineered tissues is expected to develop knowledge of tissue construction and their functions and relation with some human diseases. Integration of fully functional tissues with microscale biosensor technology allowed us to obtain “organs-on-a-chip”. These chips could be used in pharmaceutical assays and could be a step toward the ultimate goal of producing in vitro drug testing systems crucial to the medicine and pharmaceutical industry.

The specific aim of this PhD project is to develop a new platform to model myotonic dystrophy 1 (DM1) in vitro to study its response to candidate therapeutics and to better understand disease mechanisms of pathogenesis. To this end, we will monitor the secretion of disease-associated biomarker proteins and metabolites, and of the glycolysis pathway on ground-breaking in vitro differentiated muscle tissue. Muscle tissues will be fabricated on-a-chip using micro- and nanoscale technologies developed by our research group. Engineered muscle tissue will be integrated with an electrical stimulator and biosensor to detect, in real-time, the glucose metabolism and myokine secretion from skeletal muscle cells.




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Ortega MA, Fernández-Garibay X, Castaño AG, De Chiara F, Hernández-Albors A, Balaguer-Trias J, et al. Muscle-on-a-chip with an on-site multiplexed biosensing system for: In situ monitoring of secreted IL-6 and TNF-α. Lab Chip 2019.

Hernández-Albors A, Castaño AG, Fernández-Garibay X, Ortega MA, Balaguer J, Ramón-Azcón J. Microphysiological sensing platform for an in-situ detection of tissue-secreted cytokines. Biosens. Bioelectron. X 2019.